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Title IX Gender Equity, Backlash and Ideology

Susan L. Greendorfer

This paper analyzes the ideological discourse that socializes us into ways of thinking about gender equity and Title IX. My contention is that the ideological principle of equity which underlies Title IX is on a collision course with cultural beliefs that contribute to a patriarchal gender ideology. Socially constructed meanings and beliefs that interpret gender difference as gender hierarchy not only contribute to dominant gender ideology but are also a critical ingredient of the process of socialization. As a cultural process influenced by hegemonic beliefs about gender, we are socialized into values and beliefs anchored in patriarchy that hegemonically construct sport as masculine. Ideologically, Title IX, which is based on feminist notions of equality, challenges these cultural constructions because it allows for alternative readings of sport, masculine bodies, feminine bodies, and the gendered nature of physicality. The discourse of backlash, a component of hegemonic socialization steeped in gender hierarchy, offers resistance to notions of equality (Title IX), which can be viewed as counterhegemonic. In opposition to the symbolic as well as legal challenge of Title IX, which problematizes the organizational culture of sport, the discourse of backlash offers one way of preserving hegemonic gender ideology.

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Homophobia and Heterosexism in Women’s Sport and Physical Education: A Review

Susan L. Greendorfer and Laurna Rubinson

This review of the extant literature suggests that the examination of homophobia, heterosexism and gay/lesbian identities in sport remains a topic of analysis for very few scholars. In addition, there may be debate whether articles relative to masculinity and femininity, traditional gender role constructions, gender relations and the social construction of sport and sport as masculine culture should be included. Despite the narrowness or breadth of topics considered, homophobia, a weapon of sexism and hegemonic masculinity (and femininity) becomes a powerful resistance to patriarchy and male domination. The review begins with definitions of homophobia and moves to research and discussions that focus more directly on homophobia in sport and physical education. To present the breadth of topics that could be considered, additional sections include articles dealing with lesbianism in sport, heterosexism in sport, and a brief overview of homophobia in the popular press. Lack of theoretical frameworks, applications of theory and insufficient impirical evidence contribute to an uneveness in the literature and make it difficult to draw specific conclusions.

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Conflict and the College Sport Experience of Women Athletes

Elaine M. Blinde and Susan L. Greendorfer

This paper is a synthesis of results from five separate studies examining how recent structural and philosophical changes in women’s intercollegiate sport programs may have altered the sport experience of female athletes. Based on both questionnaire and interview data, it was apparent that athletes participating in sport programs characterized by the greatest change (e.g., post-Title IX programs, programs of the 1980s, product-oriented sport models, and Division I programs of recent years) shared somewhat common experiences — with the presence of conflict being one of the most pervasive themes. Four types of conflict were identified: (a) value alienation, (b) role strain, (c) role conflict, and (d) exploitation. Each of these types of conflict is discussed and examples to substantiate the presence of each form of conflict are presented. Based upon the findings, it is suggested that the changing context and emphases of college sport may have exposed female athletes to different sets of circumstances, expectations, and experiences, thus altering the nature of the sport experience and bringing into question the educational legitimacy of college sport.

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Book and Resource Reviews

Ronald E. Smith, Laura M. Little, and Susan L. Greendorfer